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Straighten Up: Scoliosis Exercises For Better Posture


Dr. Aatif Siddiqui


March 1,2024

Table of Contents

The BEST Scoliosis Exercise for Idiopathic Scoliosis Treatment

There are many newer idiopathic scoliosis treatments that include scoliosis exercises. Schroth physical therapists focus on breathing technique, repetitive motions and other mirror-image type scoliosis exercises. Schroth exercises however do not train the brain to hold the spine in a straighter position. We now know that the best scoliosis exercises are those that help create a new “Posture Memory” while strengthening the core muscles. ScoliSMART exercises for scoliosis or neuro-muscular re-education exercises teaches the brain how to hold the spine in a less-twisted, straighter posture automatically while recruiting new muscle memory to hold spine in a more straight position.

How Your Doctor or Physical Therapist Sees Scoliosis Informs How they use their Treatment Methods

Scoliosis has been considered primarily a physical spinal abnormality since the Ancient Greeks’ times. Hence, it is no surprise that all of the conventional therapies developed to treat scoliosis are orthopedic, mechanical, or physical in nature. These failed efforts are attempts to return the “toothpaste back into the tube”. The sad truth is that Scoliosis patients have been stretched, dragged, pushed, hammered, stepped on, dealt with painful symptoms, and twisted in practically every conceivable manner throughout the years to no avail. The reality is that the scoliosis condition is not cured by spinal fusion surgery. In fact, curves gradually rise over time and have extremely high long-term complications, despite surgical fusion.

Below, a few of the most mainstream conventional scoliosis treatments from across the globe and their limitations. It’s worth noting that until very recently, none of the aforementioned descriptions ever mentioned or depicted anything to do with genetic, hormonal, nutritional, or environmental aspects of scoliosis.

Schroth Method Physical Therapy Exercises for Scoliosis do NOT create NEW Posture memory

ScoliSMART scoliosis doctors give credit to all physical therapist using the Schroth method and other physical therapy scoliosis exercises to help people with scoliosis, especially helping children avoid surgery. But, not all exercises for scoliosis work the same. Schroth exercises or Voluntary Movement exercises, like a plank exercise, abdominal press, single leg balance, pelvic tilts, core stabilization or like exercises focus at the gym, DO NOT create a new posture memory. Only Reflexive Response exercise targets/influence posture memory, including those that target the core muscles in the buttocks and latissimus dorsi.

Rigid Braces and Fusion Surgery for Treating Scoliosis, a dated convention

Rigid bracing meant for moderate scoliosis and scoliosis surgery meant for severe scoliosis only focus on improving curve measurement on an x-ray.  Rigid bracing does nothing to address the root cause of Scoliosis or reverse the curve. Rigid bracing merely attempts to stop curve progression by forcing it in place while the child grows. Worse, wearing rigid bracing for 23 hours atrophies muscles. This means no muscles are in place to hold the ‘straighter’ spine in place once the brace comes off.

Fusion surgery for a growing child is not an ideal option. In fact, the scoliosis condition will continue to progress in a fused spine of a growing child.

ScoliSMART Exercises for Scoliosis Treats the Root Cause

ScoliSMART specific exercises target the cause of scoliosis by retraining the posture memory.  This scoliosis treatment administered by a ScoliSMART doctor creates new muscle memory to hold the curved spine straighter over time. In fact, in our peer-reviewed and independently published “success rate” study 93% of patients who underwent ScoliSMART scoliosis treatment under supervision of a ScoliSMART doctor did not need fusion surgery and their scoliosis curves reduced by 9-15 degrees on average. Get free recommendations on proper technique for scoliosis exercises for lengthening, flexibility and stronger core muscles/abdominal muscles including sent directly to your email. Right Here!

Reflexive response scoliosis exercises occur when the body automatically responds to weight that creates spinal imbalance the body’s center of gravity which shifts body weight around. For example, the whole body pulls to the left when carrying a heavy bucket of water in your right hand. These movements become automated habits in our brains. This same concept can create a new and straighter posture memory in the brains of scoliosis patients. Kids and adults

Why is this important? Most cases are adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (of unknown cause), yet the curve progression stems from a  problem with the brain’s control of the spine in response to gravity (Posture Memory). This occurs during periods of rapid growth spurts in kids and teens. The spine’s alignment is crucial in maintaining good posture, and this causes a deviation from the straight line, leading to discomfort and pain. Proper technique, good posture and mining good sitting posture is essential in preventing further progression of the curve.

Posture control/memory is an automatic reflex. Human beings do not have any direct control over spinal alignment. We don’t have to think about standing up and resisting gravity. Our brains pull out the mental picture out of our posture memory and remember how to do it. As infants, we keep trying to stand until we can do it without focusing on the task. ScoliSMART reflexive response exercises stop curve progression because they form a new posture memory. The condition comes in many forms, each with its own set of diagnostic criteria and specific age of onset. Nutrient therapies and specific scoliosis exercises that will benefit your child, especially if action is taken immediately to avoid further curve progression. Muscular dystrophy can also affect posture control and may require different treatment approaches.

Adult spinal curve reduction exercises often concentrate on correcting posture collapse and reducing the asymmetric load on the spine, which in the long term reduces the chance of development. Adolescent patients concentrate on allowing natural vertebrae growth. It’s also possible that better spinal mobility and biomechanical alterations in the spine’s soft tissues may help prevent progress. Reflexive Response Training, which uses posture memory building exercises to reeducate the mind to perceive a new center of equilibrium in the body, is another way of doing it. Patients may create additional neuromuscular connections that assist restore the posture and align of the lumbar scoliosis by including the ScoliSMART Activity Suit and other specialized equipment with precise scoliosis exercises.

Regardless of age or the severity of the curve, posture memory re-training is effective. ScoliSMART healed or reduced the curves of 9 out of every 10 people in a clinical trial, with mid-to upper-back curves reducing by 6 degrees or more in two-thirds of cases. ScoliSMART BootCamp, a 5 to 10 day physical therapy Bootcamp program for patients with curves measuring at least 25 degrees, is ideal for adults who want to jump-start their treatment. Patients may spend time with a ScoliSMART trained doctor understanding how to do specific scoliosis exercises and continue their physical therapy at home after completing moderate-intensity training. Surgery isn’t the only option just because a patient’s curves have persisted into adulthood. Even adults with severe cases may stop the progress and achieve curve improvement via following exercises given by a ScoliSMART doctor, even if early treatment is best. It is important to note that scoliosis can affect one side of the body more than the other, and it is crucial to understand the individual’s condition before starting any home exercise program.

To learn more about how ScoliSMART doctors treat non congenital scoliosis, the whole scoliosis condition and not only the curve, connect with us. To explore a non-brace/ non-surgical treatment for your child’s non congenital scoliosis problem, you may schedule a no-cost Zoom or phone consultation with a ScoliSMART doctor. Even if you present with severe scoliosis, ScoliSMART scoliosis exercises and home exercise regimen offer hope and measurable results. Please get in touch with us today and learn about the importance of good posture and maintaining healthy body weight, what scoliosis pain means, how to increase spinal mobility and strengthen abdominal muscles, best physiotherapy scoliosis specific exercises and what do genetic variations have to do with scoliosis progression?

ScoliSMART Doctors Treat the Whole Scoliosis Condition for Long Term Spinal Stability

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis has several genetic variations that may be examined easily and inexpensively! Even better, all 28 functional genetic types associated with the condition (which have been identified at the time of this writing) have been scientifically established using known nutrient treatment therapies. To put it another way, we may easily identify any given patient’s genetic “scratches,” and then choose the suitable natural supplementation and initiate non-invasive early stage intervention. Before they exhibit any signs of acquiring a spinal curve and beginning nutritional therapies to make up for their genetic deficiencies, this technology might even be utilized to identify which youngsters are genetically “high risk” for developing the condition. Additionally, it is important to note that the shoulder blades play a role in the diagnosis.

Because it affects so many body systems and is organized on so many body levels, scoliosis should be referred to as a “condition.” The structure of our bodies is based on genetics, and genetic codes called variants are common throughout our species. These variations have a negative impact on genetic performance and may disrupt the proteins and enzymes that a certain gene generates. The metabolic pathways that link genetic products to produce more complex substances such as neurotransmitters and hormones might be severely affected by this interruption. The communication system between your brain and body is made up of neurotransmitters and hormones. When adolescent children with the genetic mutation combination for idiopathic scoliosis start to develop quickly, causing spinal curvature known as adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, the disruption in brain-to-body communication becomes readily apparent. Osteoporosis is also a common complication of scoliosis. Monitoring bone health in patients with arthritis and scoliosis is key.

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Why Curvature Progression Skyrockets in Curves Over 25 Degrees

Curvatures of the spine over 25 degrees may progress to 50 degrees or more with or without a brace. For these severe cases doctors start recommending fusion surgery. This is frustrating because the same doctors often suggest “wait and watch” for mild scoliosis (curves less than 25 degrees). They only recommend treatment options once the curve progression already has momentum.

A ScoliSMART doctor or physical therapist never recommends waiting, as it is crucial because the spine curve has a “twisting” effect that skyrockets the chances scoliosis will progress after curves reach 25 degrees. 

The spinal bending and rotation caused by the condition, changes and accelerates during puberty (during growth spurts) when a curve is more than 25 degrees. Like a twisting rubber band, increased twisting makes the spine bend even more. ScoliSMART focuses on treating the whole scoliosis condition and not just the curve. Our approach can stop the spinal curve progression, reduce the spinal curvature (Cobb angle on x-ray), while letting kids still be kids.  Get recommendations for preventing bracing for scoliosis sent directly to your email

Factors that Affect Curve Progression

Spinal curve development does not cease once you reach spinal maturity, as is commonly believed. Four out of every ten adult patients will have curve advancement over the course of two decades. The rise is moderate for most people, but it can accumulate overtime and you will notice significant decrease in spinal mobility.

“It has been known for many years that scoliosis can continue to progress after skeletal maturity,” says spinal expert Alessandra Negrini. “Its evolution is slow and insidious and involves both the anatomic and the functional aspect of the curve.”

Whether you had the condition as a child or have developed de novo scoliosis in adulthood, curve progression is generally influenced by four main factors:

Skeletal growth

When the spine is still developing, the condition speeds up, while once it has finished growing, it slows down. On a scale of 0 to 5, doctors determine skeletal maturity by measuring adult bone growth. Those with a 0 or 1 rating have a 68% chance of seeing curve progress, whereas those with a 2 to 4 rating only see 23%.



Curves over 30 degrees are 7 times more likely to progress in girls than boys. The rate of spine curves in men and women decreases as patients reach adulthood. Women, on the other hand, may be more likely to develop degenerative spine curves as they enter menopause and become osteoporotic. When estrogen is introduced during early teenage growth spurts and when estrogen is removed as patients reach or terminate menopause (leading to loss of bone density and bone mass), we observe rapid curve progress in female patients.

Curve pattern and size 

Curves are more likely to progress depending on certain characteristics. The two curve patterns most likely to progress are thoracic spine curves, which occur on the right side 90 percent of the time, and lumbar curves, which are commonly found on the left. Size is also a factor to consider. Curves that reach 50 degrees or higher are likely to progress faster than smaller curves when they measure more than 30 Cobb degrees at skeletal maturity.


Adults and children may find age to be a useful indicator of scoliosis progression. Idiopathic scoliosis is the most common type of spinal curvature, which affects teenagers throughout adolescence. The chance of curve progression increases as a child gets older. Idiopathic conditioners usually have a sluggish and steady progress as they reach adulthood. The opposite is more common with de novo scoliosis. The risk of degenerative scoliosis development rises as people age, accompanied by bone density loss. The development of the curves can also be influenced by postural collapse and subsequent spinal degeneration.

Regular Chiropractic Treatment for Scoliosis Treatment

The Chiropractic profession seems like the natural and obvious choice for treating the condition. Their entire career and training focuses on the spine and vertebrae, so via corrective exercises, thoracic spine scoliosis or lumbar spine curves should be a natural fix, but the published research has produced mixed results. Traditional chiropractor adjustment, with practice good postural awareness and shoe lifts have little to no effect on the treatment of idiopathic scoliosis. However, a more comprehensive approach including a scientific exercise approach that involves scoliosis specific exercises and nutrition proved be much more effective, preventing the need for surgery 93% of the time.

Using a Schroth Method Physical Therapist, Pilates, and Yoga May Also Benefit Adults with Scoliosis

While the reflexive response approach, featuring the ScoliSMART Activity Suit, is very effective for reducing back pain and discomfort, several other approached for treating adults with spinal curvatures have shown promise for improving quality of life in adults as well. SOSORT member physical therapist often use Schroth and bracing to help stabilize the lower back, abdominal muscles/ stomach muscles and core muscles of adult patients even with severe curves. Schroth exercises target the abdominal muscles symmetry and spine rotation through self-correction repetitions and deep breath. Some patients may find following exercises challenging (Ex: cerebral palsy), but modifications can be made by the physiotherapist.

Depending on the degree of curvature, some patients find Pilates, core stability, plank exercise, and yoga helpful to practice good posture and strengthening the abdominal muscles, despite lack of recognition from the SRS. The pelvis, rib cage, abs, upper back, and opposite side of the curve (generally the left side in lumbar scoliosis and right side in thoracic scoliosis). As recommended by Schroth trained physical therapist, neutral position, mobility, and deep breath repetitions are emphasized.

What Are the Scoliosis Exercises?

Some of the general scoliosis exercises aim to strengthen abdominal muscles and may include the pelvic tilt, shoulder blade squeeze, hip roll, and spinal twist. However, it’s important to consult with a physical therapist or doctor dedicated to scoliosis before starting any exercise program as certain exercises may worsen the condition.

Don’t know where to start?  Take our FREE “ScoliQuiz.”  (No x-ray required)

ScoliSMART Clinics is committed to treating the WHOLE scoliosis condition, not only the curve. Genetic & clinical testing with targeted nutrient therapies, expert in-office treatment programs, and the world’s only ScoliSMART Activity Suit provides patients of all ages with the most comprehensive, most effective, and least invasive treatment options available worldwide.

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